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The Daily Echo looks at the practicalities of following Saints stars like Rickie Lambert at next summer's World Cup in Brazil
7:00am Sunday 20th October 2013 in News
THE tension is over, and the overwhelming feeling is relief. England have made it to the World Cup finals.
Victory over Poland at Wembley means there will be no play-off heartache for Roy Hodgson’s side and thoughts can turn to next summer’s carnival of football at the home of samba.
For the first time ever, Saints could be represented by five players at the World Cup in Brazil next summer.
That will mean a lot of travelling and organisation – and a bill of up to £15,000 – for any loyal supporters who want to see them in action on the beautiful game’s biggest stage.
All Saints fans will be hoping St Mary’s own Rickie Lambert will be on the plane to South America.
But just how much could Saints supporters expect to pay to roar on Rickie and co almost 5,000 miles away in Brazil?
Well, while Mauricio Pochet-tino’s men prepare to face Manch-ester United in the Premier League this afternoon, many will be spending the day looking at flights and hotels so they can catch a glimpse of what could be an exciting World Cup for Saints.
Kanoo Travel agents in Above Bar Street, Southampton, have already seen the excitement building.
Branch manager Sue Rogers said: “First thing in the morning when we opened up, we had a man waiting outside ready to book his flight to Brazil.
“He came down from London, where he’d watched the Poland game, and was desperate to get his trip sorted. Unbelievable, really!
“Wednesday morning, straight away we had operators demanding to know how much things will cost and what we were offering. There has definitely been interest already and I’d expect that to continue for a while.”
More than 100,000 England supporters swamped the FIFA website to be in the ticket ballot after the Poland win. More than six million people worldwide have requested tickets, and that figure is almost double the allocated amount.
This means even if flights and hotels are booked there is no guarantee that fans will be able to get into the matches – quite a risk, considering the cost of the journey.
“The flights at the moment are £1,222 and will increase depending on interest.
“I’d recommend booking |everything as early as possible, that way it will be cheaper and you’ll avoid a last-minute panic,” advised Sue.
“I suspect when more details come through about the World Cup, more will be revealed in relation to prices. That means it should be a good time to book before the rush.”
Brazil covers more than 3.3 million square miles, making it the fifth largest country on the globe, this makes it possibly the most expensive tour nament ever .
As yet, it is not known where exactly England will play their group matches – that will not be decided until the draw on December 6.
Match tickets will be available two days later.
However, staying in Brazil could be a lot cheaper, with accommodation prices relatively low, but these will undoubtedly rocket as the big ki k-off approac hes on June 12.
Sue said: “ Hotel prices at the moment are good .
There are two-star hotels in the centre of Rio from £100, and four star - places for £150, whic h will probably rise in price.”
Internal flights will likely rise to ten times the normal rate.
A flight from Rio to Sao Paulo is usually around £123 but is set to increase to £750.
Those costs, along with the ticket prices, which stand between £58 and £112, will add to the already whacking World Cup bill.
Brazil is also a troubled place, with parts plagued by poverty and violence.
Sue advises caution when travelling across the country.
“When you’re out there just be savvy and look after yourself.
Stick to the tourist areas and the specific places for football fans.
Just be sensible and if anywhere seems dodgy, avoid it.
“It’s like anywhere in the world, you’ve got to under- stand there are dangerous areas, be cautious and safe and use your common sense, and then I’m sure you’ll be safe.”
The country boasts some impressive landmarks and at tractions.
The iconic Christ the Redeemer – a 30-metre tall statue that sits on top of the Corcovado mountain, in Rio – is the biggest art deco statue on Earth.
The Maracana national stadium, which was built for the last Brazil World Cup in 1950 when it held a record-breaking 200,000 people, has now been reduced to 78,838 seats for 2014 but is nonetheless a place of national pride.
Elsewhere, there is the glorious Copaca bana beach, which strethhes for two-and-a-half miles along the Rio coast, Sugar loaf Mountain, which looms over the mouth of Guana bara Bay, and the dramatic Iguazu Falls, located on the border with Argentina.
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